At least 12 hurt in suspicious fire

April 17, 2008 4:06:14 PM PDT
A suspicious third-alarm fire that tore through two Bronx homes prompted "heroic" fire rescues as residents leapt for their lives from windows. Eyewitness News is told the fire broke out inside one multi-family home at 4057 Lowerre Place, in the borough's Williamsbridge section, and spread to the house next door.

Flames could be seen shooting out of three first floor windows when firefighters arrived just before 2 a.m. this morning.

An infant and woman were rescued from the flames in what one fire official described as "heroic efforts."

Other residents leapt from the rear windows to safety. One resident sustained a broken ankle from jumping out the window.

Officials say in all, four residents and eight firefighters were treated. All the injuries were non-life threatening.

Fire marshals are investigating the cause of the fire, which is being considered suspicious.

"We are not usually met with a heavy volume of fire out the windows upon arrival. And that's exactly what we were met with," Fire Battalion Chief Keith Cartica said.

"Something accelerated this fire," Cartica said. "We heard there was some police activity in the area today with this house."

According to reports, residents claimed they called the police as many as three times about possible drug dealing or drug manufacturing inside one of the apartments. They said when the police responded, the apartment's residents fled. The police left, and the suspected drug activity returned.

Authorities are now looking into whether the fire was set in connection to that activity.